Sour cherry or Morello cherry is called ‘ albaloo’ in Persian language. Albaloo or moreloo cherry is smaller that sweet cherry with dark red colour.
The origins for Sour cherry is in Iranian plateau or East Europe. This fruit is very popular in Iran from ancient time to modern day Iran. Nowadays, albaloo or sour cherry produce in Iran, countries around Caspian sea, Russia, Eastern Europe countries and Turkey.
Fresh or dried sour cherries are used in cooking including: soup, aash, rice, stew, cakes, pies, jam and marmalade.
Today’s recipe is Albaloo polo, an Iranian rice dish with sour cherries. It’s a delicious rice meal with ruby red colour, a beautiful combination of rice with typical spices for this meal such as: Persian saffron, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, dried rose petals powder and nutmeg.. You can serve albaloo polow by itself or with beef, chicken or meatballs.
- 3 cups Persian rice or Basmati rice
- 5 cups sour cherries
- ½ cup white sugar
- 1tsp of each spices: cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, dried rose petal powder, nutmeg
- 1tbsp saffron water
- 1tbsp salt
- 1tbsp Ghee oil or regular butter
For tahdig ( bottom of rice)
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ cup water
- 2tbsp plain yogurt
- 2tbsp saffron water
In a pot with deseeded cherries add sugar. Simmer for 15 minute over low heat.
Place a plate under a colander and place the cherries in the colander and allow the juice drain.
Melt the Ghee or butter in a pan, add spices and sauté for 1 minute and remove from the heat. Add cherries and saffron water. Gently mix with spices.
Wash the rice and soak in salted water (1tbsp salt) for an hour.
Bring the water to a boil, drain the soaked rice and add the rice to boiled water. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes until slightly tender.
Using a colander and drain the rice. Rinse the rice with cold tap water and drain it.
In a bowl, Mix all ingredients for tahdig and whisk it. Add 2 cups of parboiled rice and 2tbsp of cherries and mix well (as you see in the photos).
Add 2tbsp vegetable oil to the pot. Pour saffron rice into the pot. Cover this layer with half of white rice and pour cherries and cherry juice . Cover the cherry layer with the remaining of white rice and pour remains of cherry juice over the rice.
Cover the pot with a napkin and a lid. Simmer for about 30 minutes over medium heat. Once rice is ready, put a plate on top of the pot and flip it over. Serve it with chicken or beef meat.